Is the level of economic inequality in the United States a problem, and if so, what should the federal government do to address it?
Hearsey: The level of economic inequality in the United States today is a problem. Our local, national, and global economies are changing faster than government and political leaders realize. The rate of technological innovation, the reduction of family incomes, and the consolidation of wealth among the few have dramatically increased income inequality. This shift within the economy drains resources from schools, increases our national debt, puts at risk the social services many hardworking families depend on, and reduces opportunities to fully participate in the American economy. In Maryland, only about 40% of elementary and secondary schools, mostly in white suburbs, have access to the technology and training resources to ensure all students are prepared to use the technology and applications used by employers today. That is why I support federal grants to ensure Maryland schools have the technology and teachers who provide the necessary training to code, manage and repair technology, or acquire certifications in trades like welding, plumping, or being an electrician. Additionally, to reduce income inequality, I support a gradual raise of the minimum wage to $15 over five years and increases in the tax rate for high income earners and for capital gains taxes. Moreover, I also believe addressing the crippling student loan debt through increases in Pell grants, increases on the amounts and reduction of the interest rates for Perkins loans, and loan forgiveness for and expansion of categories of public interest employment, especially for public school teachers.